Cycling enthusiasts often face a common conundrum when it comes to safety gear: bike helmets, although essential, can be bulky and cumbersome. In response, we’ve seen numerous designs that fold or collapse for ease of carrying, but the latest innovation in this field is the Inflabi, an inflatable bike helmet that offers a unique solution to the issue of portability.
Inflabi is a product of a German startup that shares its name. This novel helmet employs thermoplastic polyurethane (TPU) air chambers, sheathed in a robust, abrasion-resistant fabric which is seam-welded for added strength and durability. The air chambers can be inflated or deflated using valves located at the back of the helmet. A compact pump will be provided, although any third-party hand-operated bicycle tire pump can also be used to inflate the helmet, taking approximately 20 seconds to fill from empty.
One key benefit of the Inflabi helmet is its size when deflated – it can be easily packed down small, making it significantly more convenient than traditional helmets. In addition, with 70% of its volume comprising air when inflated, it’s considerably lighter. The current prototype weighs in at 140 grams (4.9 oz), though the exact weight of the final product is still undetermined.
The Inflabi helmet is not just about comfort and convenience, but it’s also designed for adaptability and durability. The helmet’s flexible nature allows it to mold comfortably to the contours of each rider’s head. Furthermore, because it doesn’t incorporate foam which can be compromised by impacts, the helmet is expected to be reusable after crashes.
The most crucial factor, safety, has been thoroughly addressed. The Inflabi’s developers assert that it offers four times the shock absorption of conventional foam helmets. They also anticipate the helmet to receive full European EU1078 safety certification later this year, further validating its protective capacity.
The first batch of Inflabi helmets is set to be offered for presale in August, with shipping expected to commence in November. Currently, the projected price sits at around €150 (US$163). However, potential supply chain issues could cause this to fluctuate.
The Inflabi offers an innovative, practical solution to the often-awkward task of transporting a bike helmet, without compromising on safety. As such, it’s a development that may well revolutionize the field of cycling safety gear.